Coronavirus: White House adviser Dr. Fauci sticks with projection of vaccine in 2021

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The White House adviser on the coronavirus Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s sticking with his projection that a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine may be ready in early 2021. He says it’s possible it could be sooner, but “unlikely.

Dr. Fauci told ‘CBS This Morning’ “the more likely scenario is that we will know by the end of this calendar year and hopefully we’ll be able to start vaccinations in earnest as we begin early 2021.”

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Fauci says it’s routine for late-stage vaccine studies to be put on hold because of side effects. A study by AstraZeneca of a potential coronavirus vaccine was recently paused for safety reasons after an illness from a shot in a recipient in Britain.

He says it’s “really one of the safety valves that you have on clinical trials such as this.”

“It’s unfortunate that it happened and hopefully they’ll be able to proceed along with the remainder of the trial. But you don’t know — they need to investigate it further,” Dr. Fauci said.

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Fauci adds people should remain vigilant about wearing masks, keeping physical distance and avoiding crowds to help prevent future surges.

Scientists around the world have been scrambling to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus since the pandemic began. Nearly 900,000 deaths have been reported in the pandemic.

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An AstraZeneca spokesperson confirmed the pause in vaccinations covers studies in the US and other countries. The company would not provide further details of the illness.

Earlier stage studies of the vaccine hadn’t revealed any serious side effects.

The United States leads the world in coronavirus cases with 6.3 million and nearly 190,000 deaths.

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